A recent comment:
Here is the graph I want to see - HR employees per MS employee over the last 10 years. I remember seeing some data quite a few years ago that showed the growth rate of HR was double the growth rate of the overall company.
I'd absolutely love to see that graph, too. Like most folks who have been at Microsoft for a while, I, too, have felt the increasing presence of HR and have wondered why in the world all those folks were needed. There hasn't been much in the way of bonus for me and my group with all the HR hires: we practically have to run all the internal / external hiring ourselves. What HR contributes could truly be replaced with a set of VB scripts and Outlook rules. (But of course, I'm losing no tears over not being able to hire people.)
What would increase employee morale? In addition to announcing an HR downsizing, tie that into committing to not change the review process for the next five years. The review forms mutate more than common cold virus.
One year we have to learn new company values (and where the hell did that come from, anyway?) about the time we lose our minor review (goodbye bonus / review rating). Then that's tied into our competencies. Then we fill in a chart for each company value and whether we excel at it, or are satisfactory, or need improvement. Yet there's no accompanying message nor common metric and some groups say "E,E,E,E,E!" Then that disappears. Finally, we're asked to throw off those wimpy "Goals" and energetically engage in "Commitments!" It's like we're being inflicted with the latest management fad every six months. What next time? Who in the world thinks that they are doing a good job running the review process for this company? Move those people out and let the folks filling out the review focus on their accomplishments and not going through training every six-to-twelve months to help decode how to fill out their review.